Ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League showdown with Juventus, Mauricio Pochettino revealed how he tried to sign Davide Astori while at Southampton as he paid tribute to the defender who tragically passed away on the weekend.
There will be a minute’s silence for Fiorentina captain Astori before Wednesday night’s match between Tottenham and Juventus at Wembley Stadium.
In the press conference, Pochettino said (H/T the Daily Telegraph): “I want to send all my condolences to David Astori and all the people that love him, and I think it’s a massive tragedy.
“I had the possibility to meet him five years ago because it was my idea to sign him when we were at Southampton. I took three hours to have lunch with him and he was a great kid, great person, great professional, great player.
“It was very sad news, we were devastated to hear the news and we share the pain with all the people in Italy and Florence, and I send all my energy to his family.”
Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris added: “We’ve been very affected by this tragic news. It’s not only Italian football, it’s the world of football that is affected.
“It’s important in that moment to show solidarity and I think all our thoughts go to the family and friends of Astori.”
Astori was continually linked with moves to Southampton while Pochettino was in charge at Saints.
The defender died following a “sudden illness” according to Fiorentina’s official Twitter account. The club were due to play Udinese in Serie A on Sunday afternoon - that fixture, along with all other Serie A games, were rightly called off.
Astori was capped 14 times by Italy and was a club favourite at both Fiorentina and Cagliari. Fiorentina and Cagliari have since retired the number 13 shirt he made famous at both clubs.